Toolbox Talks | OSHA Safety Manuals - Part 23
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Employee Safety Responsibilities Employers are responsible for maintaining a safe work place and adopting an Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) to protect workers from job hazards. But employers are not the only ones responsible for safety on the job –  workers have responsibilities for maintaining a safe workplace as well. Do you know your safety responsibilities? Know and follow all of your employer’s health and safety rules such as safe work practices and standard operating procedures. Be familiar with the OSHA safety requirements that regulate your industry. These regulations and guidelines are designed to educate and protect you from hazards and...

Ergonomics Ergonomics literally means “the rules of human strength”. Engineers interested in the design of work environments originated the word in the 1950’s. Today, the purpose of ergonomics in the workplace is to create a better match between the worker, the work they perform, and the equipment they use. A good match increases worker productivity and reduces ergonomic injuries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 34% of all lost-workday injuries and illnesses are work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). WMSDs are a result of a bad match between the worker, the work they perform and the equipment they use. More common names for...

Cross Contamination Cross contamination occurs when workers spread contaminants around the worksite and into their homes by soiled clothing, shoes, and skin contact. Contaminants can be transferred to the items workers touch, sit on or walk on. Using good personal hygiene at work by hand washing, showering, and changing dirty clothing and shoes can help prevent cross contamination. Workers that handle chemicals and contaminants in the workplace are aware that the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, safety glasses, respirators, coveralls, and boots, can reduce or eliminate their exposures. PPE can act as a barrier against the contaminants and...

Compressed Gas Cylinder (CGC) Safety Compressed or liquefied gas cylinders are often used to store chemicals for industrial purposes. The compression of the chemicals allows for a large quantity of material to be stored in a relatively small space. Because cylinder contents are under high pressure (up to 2,500 pounds per square inch, or psi), there can be physical and chemical hazards involved with the use of compressed gas cylinders. Cylinders range in size from table-top lecture bottles to bottles that are almost 5 feet tall and weigh 155 pounds. When in proper working order, cylinders are fitted with valves and regulators...

Be an Extra-Safe Driver Those who drive for a living would be the first to agree it can be mighty dangerous out there on California’s crowded roads.  Although the common factors of inexperience, recklessness, and aggressive driving contribute to many vehicle accidents, it doesn’t explain why so many professional drivers get into accidents.   A driver may be trained, experienced, and competent behind the wheel, but the very flood of vehicles competing for space on the roads today presents added danger to all drivers.  Even the very best drivers must learn to operate their vehicles with life-saving EXTRAS. Drivers should take extra care...

Don’t Miss the Near-Misses Most safety managers do not usually put much credence to near-miss accidents. Most employees do not even consider reporting them when one happens to them or a coworker, dismissing it as a “no harm done” incident. However, near-miss accidents could be opportunities for corrective actions to prevent serious injuries or even worse, fatalities in the workplace. OSHA and the National Safety Council define near-miss as an unplanned event that did not result in injury, illness, or damage, but had the potential to do so. By the very definition that near-misses do not result in injuries, illnesses, or damages leads...

Asphalt and Pitch Roofing Asphalt and pitch roofing involves the use of hot chemicals that add an additional layer of complexity and hazard to a roofing job. Make sure to get training on general roofing hazards and working at heights. In addition, specialized training in asphalt and tar handling procedures can prevent fires, burns, and potential overexposure to airborne contaminants. Recommendations are outlined below: Before you begin work: Know the properties of the material you use by reading the Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and manufacturer’s directions. Wear the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Wear sturdy work boots and coveralls along with gloves,...

Emphasis on Confined Space Confined spaces can be deadly.  Overcome by gases, vapors, fumes, engulfed by material, or caught in moving machinery, workers may find they have nowhere to go without proper entry procedures.  Adding to this potential tragedy, most fatalities occur to ill-prepared rescuers. A confined space is large enough for an employee to enter and perform work.  It has limited openings to enter and exit.  It is not designed for continuous occupancy.  A permit-required confined space has these limitations AND added dangers such as hazardous atmospheres, material engulfment, inwardly converging or sloped walls, or other serious safety and health hazards. Confined...

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) are devices designed to prevent accidental electric shock and electrocution by preventing ground faults. They also protect against electrical fires, tool/appliance overheating, and destruction of wire insulation. GFCI’s are required by building code in “wet” locations like kitchens and bathrooms and by OSHA at construction sites. The most common electric shock hazard, ground faults can cause severe electrical shock or electrocution. In normal conditions, electricity runs in a closed circuit; electricity flows out on the "hot" wire and returns on the "neutral" wire, completing the circuit. A ground fault occurs when the electrical...

Carbon Monoxide What is Carbon Monoxide? Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a poisonous, colorless, tasteless, odorless gas. CO gas is generated as a waste product of the incomplete combustion of coal, wood, oil, and other petroleum based fuels (e.g. gasoline, propane, etc). CO gas, although odorless, usually occurs in a combination of combustion by-products that have distinctive odors. The primary source of CO gas is the internal combustion engine. CO gas is also generated in industrial operations such as auto repair, oil refining, steel and chemical manufacturing. Hazards of Carbon Monoxide Health Hazards: CO is a chemical asphyxiant which means that it reduces the blood’s ability...